Sen. Ruth Johnson’s bills to protect victims’ addresses sent to the governor

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Friday finalized Sen. Ruth Johnson’s legislation to help protect victims of certain heinous crimes by keeping their physical addresses hidden from their offenders. The bills now head to the governor to be signed.

“Thirty-seven states have some sort of address confidentiality program. If this bipartisan legislation is signed by the governor, Michigan will establish our own program to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “This type of protection can help save lives and give survivors in Michigan some peace of mind by providing them a way to reduce the risk that they will be threatened or harmed again.”

Senate Bill 70, sponsored by Johnson, would create an address confidentiality program in Michigan.

The program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to receive a unique identification number and a legal substitute address, such as a post office box, to use in place of their actual physical address for voting, driver’s licenses and other state interactions. The state would then keep their actual address confidential.

The program would also afford children the same address confidentiality if they are at risk of being threatened or physically harmed, or if they or their parents or guardians are victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery.

Johnson also sponsored SB 72, which would prohibit schools from disclosing the address of a pupil or a pupil’s parents or guardians if they are participants in the address confidentiality program.

SBs 71 and 73-76 would:
• Allow participants to use their program ID in the state’s Qualified Voter File;
• Protect a participant’s actual physical address from Freedom of Information Act requests;
• Allow participants to claim an exemption from jury duty while in the program; and
• Require the secretary of state to reissue an operator’s or chauffer’s license, an enhanced driver’s license, or an official state ID card with the participant’s designated address once the person has entered the program.